Lakeland’s Dining Service Protects Student’s Health with COVID-19 Protocols; No Salad- bar, Temperature Taking for Employees

Amber Walker, Staff Reporter

Lakeland’s cafeteria is committed to providing meals with safe, anti-COVID-19 protocols such as avoiding cross-meeting and limiting the objects which make indirect contact between cafeteria users, and they appreciate students’ cooperation.

Every aspect of the school including the cafeteria has protocols and accommodations in place. Joseph Johnson, executive chef and assistant director of dining services, explained about the current protocols that the cafeteria has, “Our first goal was to follow protocol and social distance the students. And we did that by separating the tables, we have also made it to where there is only one aspect of coming into the cafeteria, and one way out, to stop the possibility of the cross meeting as the staircase in front of the grill is normally used for.”

There has been a change happen with how the inside of the mainline. “Anything people would normally touch, such as juice, milk, cereal, has been eliminated, we now have juice bottles, bottled milk, and to-go cereal. There also is no Salad-bar, salad is now in to-go containers. 800- 900 meals were served every day during the Fall semester while students were in quarantine. We had to do it again when the campus shut down over break. And when everyone came back a couple of weeks ago, we had to do it again” Johnson said.

Accommodations also brought extra care for the health of the cafeteria’s workers. Johnson mentioned, “The employee’s come in and take their temperature, and there are masks and sanitizer available as well.” He also adds from the directional aspect that, “we have moved aspects of serving into the DVB (David and Valorie Black) in the Laun center.”

Andrew Colley, a student worker in dining services in the cafeteria, described the difference this pandemic has made for the cafeteria staff. “It is different, but it is easy to follow. I know that we are used to bunching up with friends and cutting up, but we can still socially distance and have a good time. Also working for Dining Services and going through the recent changes is a challenge. There are certain precautions that we must do to make sure that we keep the people around us safe. Dining Services is doing everything we can to make this a successful semester,” Colley stated.

Following the rules to keep students and staff safe is a main priority for the campus and knowing that the school is doing the best it can make the students feel safe to be on campus. Colley left the message to the cafeteria users that “students are still used to how everything was in the Spring of 2019. I understand that we are tired of wearing masks and we want things to go back to ‘normal.’ Students are getting annoyed with the changes that are made, and some think that when the dining hall is no busy, they can break or bend the rules.”

Johnson described the current situation of the cafeteria’s protocol that “I feel pretty good. As soon as everyone left in March, I started getting things ready for Fall. I was happy with how prepared we were for the start of this semester.” Knowing when the campus had shut down, it was a shock to many, but due to safety reasons it was something that had to be done, but instead of saving everything to the last minute, the kitchen staff decided to get started early on the

upcoming semester. All cafeteria members including Johnson and Collet appreciated the cooperation of students and they were proud of being able to do this successfully because it was not as stressful as it had been before.